Edward Hitchcock Essay

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Historical Philosophy Report Ryan Hart 1/29/14 Philosophy: System of gymnastics that included “light gymnastics” and focused on developing his students minds and bodies through the blending of comparative anatomy (anthropometry), physiology, hygiene, and religious beliefs. Philosopher: Edward Hitchcock Background on Philosopher: Edward Hitchcock was hired as the professor of Hygiene and Physical Education at Amherst College in 1861 (Leigh, 1982, p. 19). He had previously taught elocution and natural science at Williston Seminary (Brunner, 1982, p. 22), he had a liberal arts education, held a medical degree from Harvard, and had studied anatomy, physiology, medicine, and anthropology in London and Paris (Leigh, 1982, p. 20). In regards to choosing “light gymnastics” for his curriculum, Hitchcock was influenced by Catherine Beecher and Dio Lewis two pioneers of physical education (Leigh, 1982, p. 20). He was also greatly influenced by his father and his Christian faith, which led him to strongly believe in the unity of mind and body, and become “...a man with a vivid sense of the dignity and nobility, piety and grace, strength and beauty manifested in God's finest creation: the healthy, upright, well-cared-for human body (Brunner, 1982, p. 22).” Hitchcock's background in science and love of comparative anatomy led him to use the new science of anthropometry which was developed and applied for the first time in the 1830s and 40s (Leigh, 1982, p. 21). Description: Edward Hitchcock's philosophy was based on the belief, “...that regular, methodical, and prescribed exercises were fundamental to physical education programs (Leigh, 1982, p. 21).” He chose to use “light gymnastics” instead of using heavier equipment which emphasized strength, because his, “...idea was to exercise the whole muscular system moderately and actively with equal emphasis on
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